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The Founder.

The Founder.

With the opening of our Lake Ave location, we've met so many new friends.  So let me properly introduce myself.

I'm Katie Gorsky, former city girl & circus girl, who met a farmer online two decades ago on dial up from my Manhattan College dorm room (when people definitely didn't meet people online). 

Wait, back up.  Circus? 

Yep, but probably not what you're thinking.  This famine resistant decedent of Irish immigrants was not made to hang by her toes.  However, I loved the front end of the circus.  From the age of 13 I was managing a small show's box office, and learning to manage the concession departments.  In the days before GPS I would hand write directions to each venue for the entire crew.  I called in orders by memorized item numbers (IN-ALI36 is a 36" Inflatable Alien....now you know) to our suppliers and made hotel reservations at payphones.  One of my earliest memories of physical work was when I was 13 and Fernando Bautista and I carried a generator from one end of a school to the other.  I may have been offered a Coors Light but that's not what my motivation was. 

I loved loading trucks, driving trucks, going places.  When I got my learner's permit my goal was to drive on the Long Island Expressway, and I did.  At 16, with a box truck in rush hour. The day I got my license I drove to the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, New Jersey.  I parallel parked an 18' box truck in front of Tower Records, Columbus Circle to go to a Billy Joel autograph signing.  I worked as a concession manager on Ringling Brother's Barnum & Bailey and lived on a train.  I've been to LaRonge Saskatchewan and Halifax Nova Scotia.  I've worked with people from Russia, Kazakhstan, Austria, Columbia, Brazil, Mexico, Mongolia, Arkansas, Edmonton, France and everywhere in between.  I've been spoiled by Long Island Diners.  I once had the security code to the hospital in Moosimin, Saskatchewan because a friend of mine was the only patient after he fell from a trapeze.  

My first outside job was at a Public Relations firm on Park Ave South in NYC at 16, because why wouldn't it have been?

When I was at RPI I was meeting a friend in Syracuse, (because in my world a three hour drive to see a friend was nothing) and I remember sitting at the truck stop watching all the trucks come in, and leave, while I was working on a case study on my thinkpad, connected via a wire to my cell phone (this is 2001 folks...)....and I dreamed of a place where trucks could park and eat real food, and I wanted an upper level with glass all around so my view would be semis in every direction.  

When you look into my eyes and you see the crazy gypsy in my soul......

She's still there.  

In forth grade I did an "About Me" book and the question was

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" 

My answer:

Not a nurse or a farmer.  

It's also the year I made a "menu" for "Katie's I-84 Diner"  (One of my favorites)

So there's that:)  

One time I was driving my friend home to the Poconos, as we crossed into Pennsylvania I asked "how did you.." and she immediately said "who the hell knows"  

Ditto, Gloria, ditto.  

Once moving to the Saratoga area I sold RVs (when you've lived a transient life and love trucks you have a solid knowledge here:), was a dispatcher for a trucking company (LOVED that job), and sold insurance and loaded trucks at UPS.  

Then, I drove through a telephone pole.  

yes.  through.  it landed upright behind me.

I climbed out of my totaled Jetta but was left with a brain injury.  

Two years of cognitive rehabilitation later I was sent off to figure out my new place in this world.  

Shopping was overwhelming.  Farmer's Markets were anxiety ridden.  Sure, I loved great food.  Sure I wanted to support other local farms.  But, I would make a menu and a list, and sometimes not find what I needed and have to change on the fly (a process that was a cluster at that point).  Plus the schlepping of children and foods in addition.   

We moved back onto the farm in 2013 when our house became available.  My friend Kathleen was tired of the three years of questions about chicken rearing and said "build a coop I'm bringing you chickens."  So she did.  Seven of them.  

I quickly realized that chickens were like children who put themselves to bed, didn't talk back and gave eggs.  We ordered 40 more.  

We started selling eggs to neighbors, then strangers.  They started asking for chicken meat and pork and beef, we obliged.  From our circa 1880 garage with 5 freezers, we started selling more and more of our farm raised meats and eggs.

There was a void.  The more questions I asked of both farmers and customers, the more I heard resounding themes of "we want to eat good food, but we're too busy."  

So began my quest to make local real food, simple.  

Open all the time.  Prepared foods you can feel good about eating.  Truck parking. 

Just like in the earliest days, we listen to customers.  

You want more energy bites?  You got it!

Home delivery? Check

A location closer to your normal drive? Check

Pies? Gluten Free Options? Keto Options?  More Soups?  BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese?  More Enchiladas?  Checks across the board.  

 

We exist for your convenience.  We want your family to eat great food, we want it to be low stress, real, farm direct, delicious and simple.  

Our commitment to real food is unwavering.  You want cookies made with margarine?  Sorry, not happening here.  You want cookies made with Cabot Butter?  Absolutely.  Any cookie you want.  Yes, the lavender ones.  Yes the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.  Yes the bacon ones.  Yes Yes Yes.  It's your call.  That's why we're here:)  

So there's the last 38 years rolled up in an atlas.  I like to think that every one of my past experiences has prepared me well for just what I'm doing now.  Though, I haven't had to order any inflatable Aliens lately.  If you do, I know a guy.  

Thank you for being a part of this journey, no matter where you jumped on:)  

 

 

  • Katie Gorsky

Esse Quam Videri

 My name is Katie Gorsky. If you’ve known me for any length of time you should have probably observed that my growth game is strong.
Our high school motto at the Academy of the Holy Names in Albany New York was Esse Quam Videri: to be not to seem. 
In September 2007 on my way home from work, overnights at the UPS hub loading trucks, balancing my day job of a licensed insurance sales person at a local State Farm agent, I swerved to miss a deer.  Oddly enough, in my day job I told people every time I sold an auto policy to hit the deer because that is a comprehensive claim and not a collision. In the moment of course, I swerved to miss a deer. My right tires of my 2000 Volkswagen Jetta grabbed onto the shoulder and then went through a telephone pole and landed in the brush when I say through I mean the telephone pole landed up right behind my car. It was about 4:30 in the morning, I was only about 2/10 of a mile south of our house I climbed out of the car and at that point I just wanted to go home go to bed.  Over the next few months we learned what impact that accident had on me both physically and in my brain.  Things that I could once do automatically were challenging. Going to the grocery store was overwhelming.  I had a lot of pain. I had five discs in my neck that weren’t where they were supposed to be.  
 Though an unfortunate event, I don’t think it was a mistake.  Through the neurology office I met a PA who said I really think you need to see a chiropractor and so began my wonderful relationship with multiple chiropractors which let me avoid spine surgery. 
It was the doctor from the insurance company that gave me a personal referral to the premiere brain therapy firm in Albany; the place where nobody got in.  This man’s job was to not help me and he connected me there. I spent two years in brain therapy driving to Albany once a week, would be about two hours in the first session then I would curl up on the love seat in the waiting room and sleep for a solid hour before my next appointment   
 I was the kind of girl who used the calendar because she liked office supplies but I knew everything on my calendar, I knew the dates, the times, the addresses everything. I only had it because I have the Staples addiction.  
I became the person that had three binders and four calendars in her house because I didn’t remember what day my every week appointment was on. Once the team got me to a place where I wasn’t making much more progress, but they had given me systems and I had binders, sticky notes and sticky notes and more sticky notes and tricks and ways to retrain my brain I was set off on my own but now I had to find my path. 
I knew I wasn’t good at sitting in an office all day which is why I was working overnight at UPS to do something physical and sweaty that ironically used my brain a lot because I was really quick to memorize all of the ZIP Codes of each truck but my brain didn’t work like that anymore. 
 When we moved to the farm I stopped overthinking chickens and we started adding on more on because they were easy or less difficult than I thought they were going to be.  People kept suggesting we go to the farmers market. I personally could not handle the Farmer’s market, it hurt my brain, it was overwhelming to deal with parking, to deal with who had what, to remember what day it was and what time it opens early and what time is the afternoon and they were just too many challenges. I was making menus a month at a time for myself so I’d only have to go to the store once because it would take me a couple days to catch up and refocus after I did my grocery shopping.  I could make my menus and then I get to the farmers market and they wouldn’t have what I needed and the menu will start falling apart and then the budget will fall apart and then I just felt more behind than I was when I got there...if I remembered what day it was that it started at 3 o’clock. 
 I started writing a business plan to expand the dairy so that maybe my husband would have a night off once a week if we could justify hiring somebody. I knew I still had the capacity to learn anything, I still read, I still learn things every day and new information stayed. The brain is a very liquid entity I may have lost things, I may have had to re-train pathways, but I never have been afraid of hard work. 
 Coming from a business background which is actually what I went to school for, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the business plan for the dairy.  There’s gonna be a lot of debt, I wasn’t confident in the market, I don’t like the lack of control over the market especially with a huge debt load. I explain this to my chiropractor one-day. Know what she said? “Change it.”
Sometimes it just takes a little perspective and a little nudge and a little reminder to remember that you have the power to change things. You are in charge of the trajectory of your life. So I changed it.
We were already selling eggs off the front porch of my falling down garage, we expanded to the meat birds, we started looking into pigs and everyone kept saying why don’t you go to the farmers market and my customers were asking me how to cook things and telling me that they didn’t have time to cook and that they wanted to eat well but they just don’t have the time and it’s overwhelming and we can’t go to the farmers market because soccer is on Saturdays. 
I wasn’t the only one.
 While in business plan course through Cornell one night there was a guest speaker named Carrie, she was raising chickens and pigs and laying hens and I was like you know that sounds pretty good so I started asking her a lot of questions 
 Through this process, I found a way to do all the things that I love that I feel that I am talented in, while working from home and not commuting.
 Most importantly, I’ve become me. I realize that I don’t have to do what everybody else wants me to do. I don’t have to have long hair because that’s what girls have. I don’t have to speak the way certain people think I should speak. I don’t have to dress like anybody else thinks I should dress. I can walk the way I walk. I make decisions for me. I have become very focused on what I put my energy into I have removed people from my life who drained energy from me, they were too much work. 
I cut my hair off, I got piercings, I got a tattoo and every decision I’ve made has made me more authentically me. Each one has empowered me. I am completely confident in each one of those decisions and that’s all that matters. I do not need the approval of anybody else. I really don’t care if anybody else likes my decisions, not to sound snotty, but it really doesn’t matter 
 If you’re not happy with my decisions oh well, they’re not your decisions to have made or to be upset with. 
 While I’m far from perfect and have plenty of areas where I want to grow and expand my knowledge and my skill sets and at some point find a little bit more balance and have fun once in a while. 
I can, for the first time in my life, say I am me. 
Esse Quam Videri 
  • Katie Gorsky
Summertime Eats!   or: How to feed people in constant motion.

Summertime Eats! or: How to feed people in constant motion.

Summertime on the farm is chock full of activity!  Summertime brings about 600 extra chickens to feed and water, gardens to weed, veggies to harvest, hay to mow, ted, rake, bale, stack, barns to clean, hay to chop, more eggs to wash, more everything.  
  • Katie Gorsky

The dot on the Hudson.

In fourth grade, I read Mr. Popper's Penguins, with it's textured blue hardcover and black letters on the front.  The story took place in Stillwater and I remember asking where that was.  My father pulled out the Jimapco and we located Stillwater, a small dot along the Hudson, 70 miles north of our home in Greenville, NY.  

A decade later, from my dorm room in the Bronx, I began to chat online with this dairy farmer from Stillwater, that little dot on the Hudson.  

Two decades later and I could not think of a better place to live, work, farm, and raise food and children, then in this magnificent dot on the Hudson.  

Over the last few years, as this city girl has gotten to know the people of this town I knew it was a special place.  Not only is Stillwater encompassing of Hudson River footage, but of Saratoga Lake and the National Park, it houses some of the best human beings on earth.

A week ago this morning I awoke to our neighbor telling me Tommy's house was on fire.  I hereby nominate Peter to deliver bad news to anyone.  There was a calmness that brought peace and comfort moments before chaos and uncertainty ensued.  We gazed across the field and saw giant flames dance higher than the barns that normally block our view of Tom's house.  

By the time I arrived at the farm after brewing some coffee and loading up a box of cookies, it was a sea of fire apparatus and what seemed like hundreds of willing firemen.  It was an icy, damp, sleeting morning.  All of these people came to help, many unknown to us, yet they came with force, dedication, and passion.  As we stayed out of the way, they continued to knock down the flames and prevent a catastrophic continuation to the neighboring animal barns.  The George and I on our cookie delivery mission ran into some firemen we knew and it was so incredibly refreshing to see a familiar face.  

Neighbors started arriving asking how to help and making sure Tom was okay.   The Town of Stillwater came through to do an amazing job sanding the road for the increased traffic to travel safely.  The truck driver, also a good friend, reached out.   

My phone started dinging and ringing.  A lmost immediately, a neighboring farmer showed up with a brand new Carhartt Jacket and some sweatshirts.  Our plumber/electricians showed up to connect water to the heifer barn as it had gone through the house.  Another friend showed up with his excavator to help the fire department.  We have friends, with excavators....who show up immediately to help.  

In the days following so many have reached out, visited, asked how to help.  We thought that hosting a fundraiser at the farm might help Tom with some of the "right now" expenses you can't wait on insurance for.  

Y'all.  You're just amazing.  Within minutes orders started coming in.  My amazingly wonderful kitchen crew tackled what might have seemed impossible with vigor.  In twelve hours they made 960 buttermilk biscuits and 400 quarts of soup.  Another friend brought pizza for my ladies.  

Saturday morning arrived and car after car of you amazing people started arriving.   

It's not even about the money.  The money helps get things that are lost forever.  More importantly, it was an overwhelming sense of "you're not alone."  Small farms, surrounded by so much new development can often feel like an island.

The entire office of local company chipped into help, friends we haven't seen in ages, delivery customers who trekked out to the farm.  Neighbors stopped by to tell us how important it was that farms survived here.  

I don't even have words.   

This dot on the Hudson is truly made up of some of the greatest people ever and I am so proud to call it home.

The lake, river and park are pretty, but the people are beautiful  

Thank you. 

Thank you. 

Thank you.  

 

 

  • Katie Gorsky